Three experts spoke about educational choice on the “Advancing Educational Freedom” panel at the Center for Urban Renewal and Education’s (CURE) policy summit last September. CURE strongly advocates school choice for families, especially those in distressed zip codes.
Jack Brewer, a CURE board member and former NFL player, introduced the panelists: Victoria Cobb of the Family Foundation of Virginia, Corey DeAngelis of the American Federation for Children, and Leslie Hiner of EdChoice.
Brewer runs a school in Florida, and he tells his students they must be prepared before they walk in the door “with the full armor of God.”
Cobb talked about students losing over a year’s worth of education because of the COVID-19 pandemic (or the government’s overreaction to the virus — BCN editor). She also discussed the “transgender” policy and “critical race theory” (CRT) in the state’s government schools. Cobb said parents learned that the Virginia Department of Education told teachers in their training not to discuss 911 as a terrorist attack because it would be racially insensitive. What can parents do? Cobb said the state needs to expand its educational scholarship program, pass educational savings accounts, improve charter schools, and put more resources in parents’ hands. She added that every church should do all they can to be an educational hub. Parents can advocate and fight for these things.
DeAngelis said we shouldn’t call government schools “public schools” anymore, because they’re not accountable to the public, and they don’t advance the public good. The system is deeply inequitable, he said. Parents have gone to jail for lying about their addresses in order to get their kids into better schools.
“Advantaged families are more likely to be able to pay out of pocket for private school tuition and fees.” Funding students directly through education savings accounts, for example, would allow families to have more access to better schools. The money belongs to the families, DeAngelis said, and should follow them to wherever children are getting an education.
Hiner shared a story about mothers at a particular school who organized a Bible study held during recess. The kids loved it, but some other kids bullied them. The mothers took their concerns to teachers, who seemed to excuse the bullying because the group was religious. One of the mothers wanted to send her children to a faith-based school but couldn’t afford it. Fortunately, Montana had passed a tax-credit scholarship program. But anti-religious activists filed a lawsuit against it, and Montana stopped the program. The mother decided to fight back and ended up winning in the U.S. Supreme Court. The high court contended that parents using educational choice programs must be allowed to choose a religious school.
Watch the video below or at CURE to listen to these experts.
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